Unified Patriots by Bob Montgomery
When the late Justice Antonin Scalia issued a bold majority opinion, or a scathing dissent, that was all the buzz – that it was bold, or scathing, or something having to do with the intensity of it all. Nobody could give a fig about the substance of it, the constitutional logic behind it, what it meant for the maintenance of the Republic.Those pundits and pols who agreed with Scalia gave a big “Huzzah” and those opposed portrayed him as a curmudgeon.
Well Scalia is gone so it was a stroke of luck for the tabloidists today as Justice Clarence Thomas gave them “the lede”. He asked a question. Clarence Thomas rarely ever, almost never, does that in open court. So, yes, just that occurrence alone rated a remarking. But the issue itself, what he asked about? Will it generate any buzz?
The case in question involves the suspension of Constitutional rights – when it may legally occur and what the duration of said suspension may be. If we non-lawyers, non-scholars out here have not been paying rapt attention to the slow erosion of Constitutional rights in this country, have not kept up with the rapid expansion of the Federal Register and the volumes and volumes of US Code, not to mention what goes on not only in the 50 states but the thousands of municipalities across the country, we probably did not realize that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms may be withheld upon something as minor as a misdemeanor.
But Thomas peppered Eisenstein with several questions about Second Amendment gun rights, a topic no other justice had asked about. He noted that the law allows someone convicted of a misdemeanor assault charge to get a lifetime ban on possessing a gun “which at least as of now results in suspension of a constitutional right.”
“The suspension is not directly related to the use of a weapon?” Thomas asked.
Did that strike a nerve somewhere? Anywhere? Not only is the suspension of a constitutional right liable to take place for something as trivial as a misdemeanor, it can be imposed when the exercise of the right had absolutely nothing to do with the original offense.
A guy got mad and slapped his wife. Not a gentlemanly thing to do, say all us decent folk, but for that he is henceforth unable to protect his home, his hearth, his family (if she forgave the cad), or even his self from even a felonius assault?
Yes, indeedy, replied the flummoxed attorney, still shell-shocked by the verbal outburst from the perpetually reticent jurist. In fact, the Second Amendment is not the only Right in the Bill Of Them liable to be voided if the pop culture demands it….